Casting-wise, blackwashing has been a thing since the woke dambreak of ’16 or ’17. For decades Hollywood adhered to whitewash casting, and now that European paleface culture has been identified and discredited as the root of all social evils, the tables have turned — simple enough.

But I wouldn’t call the latest alleged blackwashing rumpus — i.e., Nico Parker (daughter of Ol Parker and Thandiwe Newton) being cast as Astrid Hofferson in the forthcoming live-action version of How To Train Your Dragon — especially significant.

It’s a deal, okay, but a relatively small one. Not worth anyone getting into a twist.

True, Cressida Crowell‘s original children’s books were set in a Scandinavian Viking world, which for centuries has been a white-ass culture. (Just ask Kirk Douglas.) Ditto the 2010 Dreamworks animated version — white-ass Viking men and women from top to bottom. But the new social rules (including the doctrine of presentism) require that white-culture-based stories be reassessed and updated.

Casting directors understand that it’s politically safer to roll with diverse or multicultural mindsets, even if casting an actress of color as the heroine of a centuries-old Scandinavian saga defies any common understanding of Viking history.

Diminishing the visual presence of whiteness by going multicultural has been happening for six or seven years now (ratification of the Academy’s inclusion standards made it official in 2020). Politically speaking it boils down to this: if you don’t want industry people to give the side-eye, you need to play along.

Plus one other thing: Nico Parker was very good as the daughter of Pedro Pascal‘s Joel in HBO’s The Last Of Us.